Do you know if a person can get better at drawing while looking at references? I'm not good at freestyle but if I can look at references I can spot on draw it and alter some things. I don't know, I don't think it helps improve art skills, but I wanted to ask an expert in art lol
OH ASDFGHASDL omg thanks im mean im no professional but I’ll tell you what i know.
REFERENCES. ARE. YOUR. SAVIOR.
Do not dismiss using references at all. There’s is no shame in using them and it’s really sad to see that people think like, “oh an artist can draw off the top his/her head anything at any time-” no that’s not how it works. Artist’s are meant to use reference. They’re supposed to use reference. All the time?? Not at all, but if your sitting down and planning a big illustration or something that you want to look good and is going to take a lot of time, yes, oh yes. Reference is how you learn to draw correctly, learn what things should look like and resemble; from real life is where you take your subject and make it your own.
AND REMEMBER THAT REFERENCE ISN’T MEANT TO BE COPIED EXACTLY. It’s just supposed to help you know what a pose or fold should look like, and you take it from there. You’re correct in altering some things and not copying them line for line. Don’t just copy reference; that defeats the purpose of art! If having art look exactly like the real thing was the purpose, cameras would have disposed of artists long ago. (also you know, copyright reasons lol)
Reference makes your art look better and more believable, even if your art is stylized or cartoony.
When I went to San Francisco for summer art classes, my Illustration teacher (a working professional) showed us on her laptop and all her MILLIONS OF FOLDERS OF REFERENCES. Folds, poses, lighting, backgrounds, all of it. And she showed us past and previous artists that used references for their artwork, you might recognize some of them:
Norman Rockwell, world-renown and famous for his illustrations on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post. took photos of his models for his final illustrations; see how he didn’t exactly copy the models. His art looks like his art, not like a photo. (i was so lucky to see an exhibit with some of his work >v<)
Gil Elvgren, one of the most famous pin-up artists: (he makes his figures more slender and curvy and perhaps more busty, but the anatomy, the folds, everything is correct and yet not exactly copied.)
and my most favorite artist of all of them, J. C. Leyendecker: the artist that made up the idea to give you mother flowers on Mother’s Day, the artist that coined having a newborn baby represent the new year, the artist credited for designing the plump, jovial, Santa Claus with the trademark red coat with white fur trim that everyone in the world knows today, and the artist that made it tradition to have fireworks on 4th of July. HE DID THAT. THAT WAS J.C. LEYENDECKER. AND HE USED REFERENCE JUST LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE.
(his partner Charles Beach was his model reference for the famous Arrow Collar ads, and many other of his works)
So, does reference improve your art skills and make your art look better?? FUCKING YES.
So start making some folders on your desktop and start filling them with referenece images; you will be thankful later that you did.